As marketers, our worlds often revolve around economies of scale. We create one message and use a place where lots and lots of people go – a magazine, email inboxes, social media, news outlets, etc. – to get that message in front of as many of them as possible.
It’s hard to argue with the value of this type of communication. Without it, few of our brands would exist as they do today. We’re busy, our markets are huge, for most messages it’s the only way.
But as marketers we also know that an irony lurks just under the surface of this strategy.
One vs Many
Because when we look across our careers or our most loyal fans, we can probably see the same pattern. Loyalty, friendship, meaning, and purpose aren’t created by being in an audience of many, they’re created when it’s an audience of one.
When it’s one person sending one message to one other person.
Though I’m lucky to call many of you friends, that friendship didn’t truly blossom until we connected individually in person, over the phone, or via email. One-to-many showed us our interests or values or whatever aligned, but one-to-one was where it truly began.
A couple months ago I took an somewhat unexpected trip to Vermont for some Inntopia HQ time. Vermont did not disappoint. I had some of the best meetings I’d had in months, caught incredible sunsets, visited a few resorts I’d been dying to see, and even snagged a new logo t-shirt from one of my favorite resort brands.
But the highlight of my trip was a small piece of paper with a note from a friend I received upon arrival.
The t-shirt? Jammed in my bag. The sunsets? All but forgotten. But this letter? Carefully folded and set beside my computer where it still sits 60 days later.
The letter didn’t come from someone sitting on their hands, it came from someone with a ton of responsibilities and more on their plate than I could ever handle. Interestingly, whenever I encounter these letters, “a ton of responsibility” is usually a pretty accurate description of the person behind the scenes.
Is there a connection between this mindset and their success? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Whatever the path, they are smart enough to know something I very easily forget; that the time it takes to write letters like that pale in comparison to the impact of the message they send.
So they take the time to write them.
And so should I.
And, maybe, so should you.
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